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Eleanor Roosevelt on Screen by Angela S. Beauchamp

Eleanor Roosevelt on Screen: The First Lady’s Appearances in Film & Television, 1932–1962

This is the first book to address the moving image record of one of the most important American women of the twentieth century and her role as a television broadcasting pioneer. Eleanor Roosevelt recognized the power of film and television, especially as educational tools to reach young people. She was the first woman to host major public affairs broadcast television, with Today with Mrs. Roosevelt (1950) and Mrs. Roosevelt Meets the Public (1950-51) weekly on NBC. Albert Einstein made his first TV appearance with her. Prospects of Mankind aired monthly on National Educational Television (NET), the precursor of PBS, from 1959 to 1962. In between, she played a significant media role during the Cold War and often appeared in guest spots to promote the United Nations, favored candidates, and progressive issues, talking with Ed Sullivan, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Mike Wallace, and Edward R. Murrow. Eleanor’s life had so many dimensions that her savvy use of the brand-new medium of television has been overlooked. The early days of television were profoundly influential on popular culture, and this study sheds light on the First Lady of the World’s groundbreaking role in using TV to advance the causes of world peace and the rights of women and the politically marginalized.

Angela S. (Angie) Beauchamp

Angela Beauchamp

Hi. I'm Angie Beauchamp, the author of "Eleanor Roosevelt on Screen: The First Lady’s Appearances in Film and Television, 1932–1962," published by McFarland. I am a film and television historian at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and a lifelong ER enthusiast.

Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt,
Volumes I, II, III

“Filled with entirely exciting and forever useful information, Angela Beauchamp's splendid screen spin with ER on TV and film will delight everyone! It is a joyful read filled with significant healing memories 1932-1962.”

Maurine H. Beasley, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: Transformative First Lady

This book represents a much-needed addition to the existing Eleanor Roosevelt scholarship. Eleanor's life had so many dimensions that her final years as one of the first women - if not the first woman - to do major public affairs broadcasting truly has been overlooked. Due to the painstaking research in this book, it is now possible for the first time to study Eleanor's role in the media during the Cold War. This is a monumental labor of scholarly love.

Stephen Smith, editor of
The First Lady of Radio:
Eleanor Roosevelt's

Historic Broadcasts

“This study sheds valuable new light on ER’s groundbreaking role in using television to advance the causes of world peace, tolerance, and the rights of women and the politically marginalized. Eleanor Roosevelt on Screen tells the little-known story of an innovative First Lady using the brand-new medium of television to make the world a better place.”

Susan Ware, feminist historian and biographer, author of Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote

“This deeply researched and informative survey will send readers scurrying for clips of Eleanor Roosevelt to experience her masterful performances on screen firsthand.”

Dr. Rosanne Welch, author of When Women Wrote Hollywood and American Women’s
History on Film

“We all know how ER redefined the work of being First Lady so it was about time someone showed us how she redefined the way the media can be harnessed for good. Beauchamp’s writing style is smooth and her respect for ER sincere, making this a suitable book for educators and lay readers alike.”

David Michaelis,
author of Eleanor

“Richly sourced and urgently relevant, Angie Beauchamp’s superb split-screen restoration of Eleanor Roosevelt as a star-power Hollywood presence and surpassingly effective television broadcasting pioneer, reveals how the First Lady of newsreels, radio, and newspaper syndication took command of screens both big and small to shape our relationship to truth in democracy. A groundbreaking cornerstone to the new wing of 21st-century Roosevelt media studies.”

Patricia Bell-Scott, author of The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

“In this groundbreaking book, Beauchamp examines Eleanor Roosevelt’s emergence as a media personality, adept at using film and television to educate and foster open, and sometimes difficult, public dialogue. The interplay of cultural politics, ER’s persona, and her political acumen set the stage for relations between the visual media and first ladies who followed. Eleanor Roosevelt on Screen is a fascinating must-read.”

Robin Gerber, author of Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way
and Eleanor vs. Ike

“Angela Beauchamp's book is a terrific addition to the historical coverage of our most influential First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. A great communicator, Eleanor stepped up to every new opportunity to project her message. This book gives an in-depth and comprehensive look at the time she spent on radio and television, especially as that 'new' medium grew in reach and popularity.”

Anya Luscombe,
University College Roosevelt, Utrecht University

“Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady, activist, diplomat, humanitarian, teacher and journalist, understood the power of media like no other, especially as an educational tool about democracy. Scholars have written about her columns, speeches and radio broadcasts, but this is the first book to focus on the moving image.”

Cari Beauchamp, author of Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood

“In Eleanor Roosevelt on Screen, Angela Beauchamp (no relation) digs deeply into the complex and challenging ways the essentially introverted First Lady methodically and effectively became F.D.R.’s eyes and ears. Using film and radio as no American leader had done before, Eleanor expanded and enhanced the President’s legacy during his lifetime and to this day.”

Kathryn Smith, author of The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR and the Untold Story of the Partnership that Defined a Presidency

“In her exhaustively researched book Eleanor Roosevelt on Screen, Angela Beauchamp shows how the indefatigable first lady carried FDR's New Deal and Four Freedoms messages to the people in every form of media, from her daily newspaper column to radio interviews to film appearances, and, after his death, to television. An impressive book about an impressive woman!”

Eleanor Roosevelt appeared on "What's My Line" in 1953 to promote United Nations Week. Dorothy Kilgallen and Arlene Francis rose to shake her hand, the only guest for whom the female panelists stood up in the entire history of the show.

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